We've had a few days of warm to hot weather now – it was hot last weekend (not good for marathon running as I can verify) and has been warm and humid since and is going to be sunny and hot this weekend.
Well some of the hard work is paying off now – the lettuces and some of the 'mixed leaves' are being harvested as well as some of the rocket – it's very nice having fresh lettuce in our salad – and the guinea pigs seem to appreciate the damaged outer leaves we can't eat. Also the broad beans should be able to provide some eating this weekend, probably some whole pods (they can be cooked like mangetout peas if very young) as I don't think any are big enough to provide beans yet – but….
The beans – both the broad beans and runners are suffering from aphid attack (blackfly) – quite serious on some with not just the tops being attacked but the developing beans as well. So, being organic-ish I've eschewed the insecticide I still have and after a study of alternatives (of which there don't seem to be many) have resorted to blasting them off with the hosepipe (ok as long as we don't get a hosepipe ban like in the SE) and physically rubbing them off as well while hosing – had a good go at it tonight but got quite wet in the process. Still, it does mean they get a good watering as well. It will need another go though and the runners are trickier to deal with as the aphids are around the flower buds, so we'll see.
Above – yes all the black blobs are aphids – a serious attack!
Also, the presumed bird attacks on the brassicas have been quite serious, reducing some plants to just skeletons (see below). So a super CD based bird scaring system has been added – plus netting all around the patch. As I think it is pigeons then stopping them walking in and making it scary to fly in or out should put them off. I'm pretty certain it is birds rather than caterpillars as there is absolutely no sign of caterpillars at all.
Above – serious damage to brassica!
Above – netting and more CDs to hopefully keep the birds off…
Meanwhile some of one row of climbing peas have appeared, though only about 50% or less of the row. The other row (of mangetout) has produced no shoots at all… I think I'll try planting some peas into pots inside the greenhouse to check on germination and to produce some plants to fill in the gaps.
The tomato plants in the greenhouse now have tiny tomatoes – so I am feeding with tomato fertiliser now. The outside ones are not so far behind with the warm weather.
The hedges and shrubs have been growing like mad, so a fair amount of time has been spent trimming them (I've got the scratched arms to prove it), and there is more to do. It's like painting the Forth Bridge – by the time I've got round them all I have to start again.